Archives: Voices

Back pay for federal contractors set to advance

Last January, in the midst of the longest federal government shutdown in U.S. history, Voices for Human Needs and a number of other media outlets detailed the plight of federal contractors. Unlike government employees, who usually receive their pay retroactively in the event of a shutdown, federal contractors are left out in the cold, without compensation. These contractors include low-income workers such as janitors, security guards and cooks. But earlier this week, the House Appropriations Committee announced that an upcoming spending package will include back pay for an estimated 580,000 federal contractors.

Putting the Spotlight on Child Poverty

As we approach the upcoming months of summer vacation, it’s easy to imagine the flurry of excitement for students awaiting long days of snow cones and playing at the pool. However, this is often not the case. For many children, this time of year means losing access to school meal programs and facing the threat of hunger. This was a major point of conversation at the Spotlight on Child Poverty event at the Capitol on June 12, part of First Focus’ Children’s Week 2019.

New details reveal dangerous, dismal conditions in migrant detention facilities

A trove of new information reveals how dangerous and dismal conditions are for both adult and children migrants held in facilities stretching from El Paso, Texas to South Miami-Dade, Florida.The leak of new information began on Thursday, May 30, when CNN obtained a confidential report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. The report revealed “dangerous overcrowding” and unsanitary conditions at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Center. The facility has a maximum capacity of 125 migrants; however, on May 7 and 8, logs indicated that there were “approximately 750 and 900 detainees, respectively.”

Finally: Disaster Assistance Bill Signed into Law, Offering Help to Many States and Territories

Finally: people in disaster-struck communities across America should see more help soon. Members of the Coalition on Human Needs stand with them in welcoming this aid.  We congratulate the House of Representatives and Senate for overwhelming votes to enact $19.1 billion to help states and territories recover from hurricanes, tornadoes, typhoons, tropical storms, flooding, earthquake, volcanic eruption, and wildfires.

Why are migrant children dying? And what can we do about it?

The deaths of migrant children at our southern border continue. In the past nine months, six have died — Darlyn Valle, 10, in September; Jakelin Caal Maquin, 7, and Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8, in December; Juan de Leon Gutierrez, in April; and Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, 16, in May. (In addition to those five, an unnamed 2 ½ year-old boy died last month.) To put all of these deaths in context, before September, the last time a migrant child died in federal custody was in 2010; yet in the past nine months of the Trump Administration, half a dozen children have lost their lives.

CHN praises House passage of American Dream and Promise Act

Members of the Coalition on Human Needs congratulate the 237 members of the House of Representatives whose votes to enact the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) took us forward, towards the more just and inclusive nation Americans want and need.

After decades of progress, children’s health coverage is now in jeopardy

More evidence surfaced this week that children continue to be the latest casualties of the Trump Administration. A new report shows that about 828,000 fewer children nationwide were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP at the end of 2018 than in 2017. That statistic is alarming because it could mean that the child uninsured rate – which has been steadily declining since the historic enactment of CHIP in 1997 under President Clinton – has reversed itself and is now on the rise.

Urban Institute: due to fear, one in seven adults in immigrant families forgoed public benefits

A new briefing paper released last week by the Urban Institute shows that one in seven adults in immigrant families did not participate in a noncash benefit program in 2018 out of fear of risking future green card status. The Trump Administration is pushing a proposed rule that would consider an immigrant’s past use of noncash public benefit programs, such as SNAP or Medicaid, as a negative factor in applications for green cards (i.e., permanent residency) or temporary visas. But even before the rule has taken effect, new evidence suggests that it is having a substantial “chilling effect” on people who qualify for public benefit programs.

Block granting Medicaid is still a terrible idea

In its latest effort to reduce access to affordable health care, the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is reportedly working on guidance to pave the way for states to apply for waivers to block grant their Medicaid programs. Under a traditional block grant, states would receive a fixed, capped dollar amount of federal funding, whereas now they can draw down federal funds based on the program’s expenditures. Any effort by CMS permitting states to block grant Medicaid is not only legally dubious, but also ill-informed policy that will only act as a cut to Medicaid.

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) delays disaster aid

After months of delay, members of the Coalition on Human Needs were relieved and grateful that the Senate overwhelmingly approved disaster relief for 16 states and U.S. territories. Because the Senate acted late, final passage required unanimous consent in the House to get the bill to the President without waiting past the Memorial Day recess week.  Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) saw fit to withhold consent, and now those afflicted by hurricanes, typhoons and floods to wildfires, tornadoes, hail damage and drought will have to wait yet another week.